BAYDEN Pilbeam is a Sea Eagle that has just changed his roost.
Pilbeam, 17, took the field by storm last week, booting seven goals for Tathra in his first ever game of Aussie rules.
Before making the switch, Pilbeam had been with the Tathra Sea Eagles Rugby League club since he was nine.
“I’ve always sort of wanted to play AFL, but I grew up playing rugby league,” Pilbeam said.
Pilbeam said no-one pushed him to make the switch.
“For some reason I decided to want to give it a crack – I think they were a bit short on numbers so I thought I’d run up,” he said.
Spectators and team-mates alike were impressed when Pilbeam piled on seven goals in his debut match.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I didn’t think I’d go that good to be honest,” Pilbeam said.
“I reckon it was just flukey if you ask me.
“There was no pressure on me at all in that first game, it was my first AFL game in my life so no-one really expected anything of me.”
Now his skills on the park have been seen, Pilbeam expects to face a tougher challenge in Narooma tomorrow.
“I think more pressure will be on me this time around, but it will be right.”
Pilbeam said he was used to the rough and tumble, but didn’t think Aussie rules would be as hard-hitting as league.
“It was not soft or anything like that, it was still hard contact and it took me a while to get used to it, it was still tough and rough,” he said.
Pilbeam said he would continue with the club after enjoying his first outing.
“I didn’t realise it was going to be as fun as it was, I was talking to a few mates trying to convince them to play as well.
“I really enjoyed myself.”
Pilbeam said he had been interested in playing AFL for a long time, but hadn’t taken the leap.
“AFL never really suited me, this year I sort of just decided to have a crack, asked when training was and I turned up.”
Pilbeam said it was almost a natural switch as his dad, well-known Bega businessman Mitch, had a long career in Aussie rules.
“My old man used to play it all the time,” Pilbeam said.
“I was always hanging around the football when Dad was playing.”
Pilbeam was happy to see his dad on the sidelines during the match.
“I reckon it was good, Dad came down and watched the game after he finished work,
“I thought it would be good for him to see one of his sons playing AFL,” he said.
“I decided to play for myself, but it was good to play so well in front of him.”
Pilbeam said it was “funny” that he remembered the team song from hanging around the game when he was young.
“I used to hang around the sheds when Dad was playing and it’s funny, but I remember the team song from then,” he said.